Notes on Web Page Construction (WPC)

Automated Page Construction

There are three types of Automated Page Construction. One is the on-the-fly dynamic creation. The second is a routine to process blocks of semi-static data into a useable web format leaving a collection of static web pages. The third is where your visitors can dynamically provide information to update the page. All methods have advantages and disadvantages.

On-The-Fly Creation

This allows the user to provide information to help generate the page. If the source of the information is a database, or any other dynamic data source, this method allows the user to specify search criteria and have the page generated to meet his/her specific needs. This method requires fast and correct HTML creation so that browsers will not be confused. This is not hard, but is subject to inadvertant errors. For example, if the data retrieved has some HTML tagging as part of the contents (intential or non-intentianal) the search retrieval engine must properly translate the < and > (not to mention the other special HTML characters) into the appropriate < and > character streams.

Block Processing

Sometimes the source data is a block of unprepared data. A word processing file, a spreadsheet file or any other type of textual information. It might even be a collection of already HTML pages that you wish to post process. Generally it does not make sense to build a routine to generate only one output file, unless it is meant to re-format and or summarize the information contained in the source. The best reason to build a HTML-generation routine is to work on a block of many files, or one input that generates many HTML files.

These routines can standardize the format and structure of the files to provide a consistent look and feel for all the pages within the same site, or the same subject. When working on this type of routine, do not forget to automate the creation of links between the pages as much as possible. This provides a much better medium for navigating between the pages.

User Input

Occasionally there are websites where the user is requested to provide information about what should be in the page. This could be something as archaic as a "Virtual Graffitti Wall" where the visitors add there own bit mapped graphical input to a spot on the wall, to the more common (and much more enlightening) index subject tree (like Yahoo). Some web authors have built routines to take user e-mail postings and translate into web format. Others that handle software archives accept files from users and to a great extent automate the web pages that point to them.

Utopia Home Page WPC Home Page Last Update: Friday, April 14, 2006
Mark J Smith Send me a Note Version: